The saltpans located in Póvoa de Santa Iria’s river bank, and the salt industry exploited by Jaime Correia Bessa and later by Soda Póvoa, in the municipality of Vila Franca de Xira, played an important role either as part of the dietary habits of the population, or in the development of the domestic and export market.
In the 1950s, the salt exploration activity ended. From 1981, the tanks or ponds were used for the production of Artemia salina and as brine ponds, in a land exploitation program, linked to the Hychem Group’s international objective in the field of aquaculture. The project was designed to produce a small shrimp that grows in hypersaline waters, with specific climate and nutritional conditions that are difficult to find. The Artemia salina production project was developed until the end of the 1980s.

Artemia salina production, 1981

At the end of 2016, Green Aqua Póvoa invested in the acquisition of the rights over the brine ponds, with 14.2 ha as total area, for the development of an economically sustainable project: the ALGATEC ECO BUSINESS PARK.
After several years dedicated to the real estate promotion of traditional construction projects, Green Aqua Póvoa expanded its line of business to sustainable construction projects and investments in properties suitable for economic exploitation activities, especially in the primary sector – technologically advanced agriculture and aquaculture, with high innovation levels and export-oriented.
The ALGATEC ECO BUSINESS PARK, promoted by the A4F group, with the support of Hychem, envisions the installation of microalgae production units and aquaculture in the brine ponds area, as well as the development of a cluster, integrating and interconnecting microalgae production units and with several industrial units present in the Vila Franca de Xira municipality.


The brine ponds area extends to 14.2 ha of total area, divided into plots of 1.000 m2 to 10.000 m2 and a test field of 5.000 m2.
This area is surrounded by Hychem’s property at the Northeastern side, currently classified as an Industrial Space, which includes the Solvay industrial complex. The Tejo river runs Southeast of the brine ponds area and the North railway runs on the Northwest. On the Southwestern lies a center of logistics hubs. Other advantages of this area include a climate with high solar radiation and hours of sunshine, water source availability and other utilities, easy access to public transportation and logistics facilities, and proximity to universities and research institutes.

  • Office Area
  • Laboratories
  • Industrial Building (harvesting and processing)
  • Parking
  • Meeting rooms
  • Access to Hychem Business Park services (Canteen, Cafeteria, Auditorium, First-aid post, Changing rooms)

The ALGATEC ECO BUSINESS PARK has already obtained the feasibility approval of the project by the relevant territorial bodies and authorities – the Vila Franca de Xira Municipality, the Commission for the Coordination of Regional Development, the Lisbon Port Authority, and the Regional Hydrographic Administration – and by the environmental authorities – Nature and Forest Conservation Institute, and the Portuguese Agency for the Environment.